The New York Rangers have got their power play going against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the first two rounds of the post-season, they went six for 38 on the man-advantage. Against Tampa, they’re six for 13 in the past three games and six for 15 in the series.
“We’re making plays,” said Martin St. Louis. “Special teams are always big at this time of the year and it’s nice to get our power play rolling.”
The Rangers are currently tied two games apiece with the Lightning and are hoping that their power play can prove a linchpin for an eventual series win. To that end, they’ve been moving the puck well with the extra man and have been locking in the right shot. That’s a strong contrast to their play earlier in the playoffs, when they seemed tentative and often made one pass too many.
Now, the Rangers have been able to get Tampa’s defenders moving side to side and that’s partly proved confounding for Ben Bishop. New York’s been excelling at finding shooting lanes, too, and they’ve cycled the puck around to get point shots.
St. Louis has been one beneficiary of the Rangers’ power play success, scoring his first goal in 18 games with a Game Four marker. He took a pass from Derick Brassard and tapped a one-timer past Bishop, capitalizing on a trend that saw two power play goals from hard shots at the circles in Game Three.
The good news for Tampa is they should know what and where to cover. The bad news is that they don’t seem to have solved it yet.
“On the power play you have to move the puck,” St. Louis said. “You’ve got to make your reads. Somebody is open and you have to force them to be uncomfortable. Puck retrieval, winning draws, there are so many things on the power play. It’s five guys, but we all read off one another…If your power play is humming, you have five guys doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Defenceman Keith Yandle is another key piece to the puzzle. The trade deadline acquisition had a goal and two assists in Game Four and two helpers in Game Three. “It’s all about doing simple things, keeping within your system,” Yandle said. “Right now we’re doing a good job.”
New York will hope to continue to keep that good job going for Game Five on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.